Justine A. Chambers Residency

Artist-in-Residence 2015-2017: Justine A. Chambers

Image credit: Mutable Subject

Vancouver dance artist Justine A. Chambers is spearheading a number of projects during her Dance Centre residency. Justine’s practice and work straddles the line between contemporary dance and visual art. Her interest lies in collaborative creation, re-positioning dance and the act of performance, and troubling the performer/viewer relationship.

“I am drawn to the movement of all bodies, not just the heroic and virtuosic acts of dancers. I am interested in the dances that are already there: the social choreographies. I work with quotidian movement (the ordinary and every day) and how it relates to specific spaces, places and social contexts.”


Talking, Thinking, Dancing Body

battery opera performance's Talking, Thinking, Dancing Body (TTDB) is a facilitated conversation about aesthetics, context and artistic process. Initiated in 2012 by Lee Su-Feh, it encourages speaking about dance from an awareness of our bodies and the world it lives in. It unabashedly interrogates dance through a lens concerned with decolonizing, anti-racism and feminism.

In 2016-17, TTDB takes place as a series of salons led by Justine A. Chambers and Sadira Rodrigues. Their conversations will form the basis of a discussion open to all present.

Blog post: About The TalkingThinking Dancing Body

Upcoming sessions:

Tuesday January 24, 2017, 5-7pm Faris Family Studio
Tuesday March 28, 2017, 5-7pm Faris Family Studio
Tuesday May 16, 2017, 5-7pm Faris Family Studio 



Thursday April 21, 2016, 5-7pm. Guest: Sadira Rodrigues.

Thursday March 10, 2016, 5-7pm. Guest: Kristina Lemieux. Theme: gender inequality in dance (and the larger arts community).

Further reading:









A definition of feminism: the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/feminism

Thursday February 25, 2016 10am-12 noon. Guest Mique'l Dangeli.

Further reading:

Dancing Chiax, Dancing Sovereignty: Performing Protocol in Unceded Territories by Mique'l Dangeli

Dancing our Stone Mask Out of Confinement: a 21st Century Tsimshian epistemology

Thursday January 28, 2016, 5-7pm. Guest Shanti Ganesh


The Dance Histories Project - working title
Created by: Justine A. Chambers, Peter Dickinson and Alexa Mardon

“Every day, urban communities are danced into being. This is more than a metaphor. It is a testament to the power of performance as a social force, as cultural poesis, as communication infrastructure that makes identity, solidarity and memory shareable.”  (Hamera, 1)

What does it means to write recent history, constantly and in the present? My friend and colleague Marie-Claire Forte once told me that she wanted to be the author of her own dance history. This notion of the artist taking agency to describe the workings of her community, to seek her context and her urgency in her dance making, deeply resonates with me. If artists are the biographers, the historians, and the archivists, where does the line between documentation and performance begin to blur; or does the act of documenting our work and our process become performance itself? If performance is “defined by its ephemerality” (Peggy Phelan), what does it mean to attempt to pin it down, to write it, to hold it in history? The source material for this research begins with my practice and experience and but also that of the larger Vancouver dance community.

Peter Dickinson, Alexa Mardon and I will delve into the archives: written, video, and living - that make up the recent history of contemporary dance in Vancouver. This project will question the rift between fact and personal fiction, the variations which emerge from a number of versions of the same story, and the collective stories we as a dance community tell ourselves about who we are and how we got here. 

The Dance Histories Project draws on my interests and experience working with the idea of living archive, the performed lexicon, and the “potential for slippage.” It uses my community at large as a starting point, challenging me to more deeply situate myself in my practice, a broader dance history, and and this community's present moment. Can this research project of re-inhabiting a community’s continuously unfolding history, through language, performance, and an installation allow us to inhabit our artistic community differently, and perhaps more meaningfully?

The Dance Histories Project Blog

Read more about the project


We're Making a Band - A research project

We're Making a Band/photo Ben Brown

We're Making a Band is a research project devised by Justine A. Chambers and musician Ben Brown. The project will explore the idiomatic movement of drummers, specifically how the physical approach to the drum kit may (or may not) be defined by the gender of the player. Joined by drummers Joy Mullen and Mili Hong and dancers Ashley Whitehead and Kevin Li, this research project works to transpose the physicality of the drummer into the choreographic.

Studio research open for public viewing:

Thursdays January 14, 21, 28, 2016: 11.30am-1pm
Thursday February 11, 2016: 11.30am-12.30pm
Thursday February 18, 2016: 10.30am-12 noon

Scotiabank Dance Centre: free admission

Supported by the BC Arts Council